Hamden, Connecticut, Plans Microgrids to Help Meet Energy Goals

July 21, 2021
Hamden, Connecticut’s city council approved an energy plan that calls for building microgrids, shifting to renewable energy and slashing overall energy use.

Hamden, Connecticut’s city council approved an energy plan that calls for building microgrids, shifting to renewable energy and slashing overall energy use.

The town in south-central Connecticut intends to build its first microgrid by 2025, with another one coming five years later, to bolster its ability to handle tough weather and be more sustainable, according to the plan approved July 19.

“As our goal is to continue to encourage more renewable energy and greater resilience, the [Municipal Energy Plan] has been designed to rethink the grid,” the plan said. “A key building block of our future grid will be microgrids, consisting of smaller subsets of power sources, users, wires and controls.”

A microgrid in Hamden, a town of about 62,000, could include the town’s schools, ice rink, the shopping centers, restaurants, gas stations, banks, emergency care facilities, the town center, a library and the town hall as well as the fire and police headquarters, according to the plan.

A microgrid could enable “near total renewable energy” by integrating battery storage and smart controls, according to the plan.

It could allow key services to continue running when the wider grid is down, lower energy costs and provide demand response to ISO New England, which runs the wholesale power market in six northeast states.

Microgrids could help town meet climate goal

Microgrids could help the town meet its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

The plan calls for installing ground-mounted solar arrays and wind turbines on brownfields, reservoir areas and vacant open space. Hamden will build a central “green energy” control center to participate in ISO New England’s demand response and peak load shedding programs.

“This energy production will serve as backup kWh energy supply for the business and municipal sectors,” the plan said.

The document was developed by Hamden’s Energy Use and Climate Change Commission.

As part of its efforts, Hamden is preparing to enter into an energy performance contract with Noresco — a company with microgrid experience in the state — to cut energy use in certain municipal buildings between 2021 and 2023.

Hamden aims to cut its energy use in city and school buildings below 2019 levels by 15% by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2040.

The municipality also plans to support a shift away from fossil-fueled transportation.

“Encouraging people-powered transportation [bikes, walkways], increasing public transportation access and supporting nonfossil fuel transportation options [electric cars] are all ways to move toward this goal,” the plan said.

Hamden was spurred to develop its energy plan to gain certification by Sustainable CT, a certification program that provides matching funding to registered municipalities.

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Ethan Howland

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